CNN's Lou Dobbs allowed Rep. Peter King to advance a misleading Republican claim Dobbs himself had previously repeated on the program -- that Democrats bear responsibility for a controversial provision in the immigration bill passed by the House of Representatives that would make unlawful presence in the United States a felony.
A New York Times article repeatedly referred to conservative Republicans' support for "stronger border enforcement," but the article failed to note that the legislation backed by many conservatives and passed by the House would designate illegal immigrants as felons.
Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank described a Republican-sponsored amendment to reduce the charge for unlawful presence in the United States from a felony to a misdemeanor as "an effort to soften" the enforcement-only House immigration reform bill. In fact, Republicans sought to downgrade the criminal penalty in order to facilitate prosecution.
Just hours after the executive director of the Arizona Police Association appeared on The Radio Factor to voice opposition to an Arizona immigration bill that would make it a crime to be an illegal immigrant, Bill O'Reilly asserted on his television show that "the cops know" the bill would provide "a good tool for law enforcement to have."
Fox News' Neil Cavuto falsely claimed that "the vast majority [of Americans] seems firmly against giving rights to people who entered America illegally." In fact, most recent national polls show just the opposite -- that most Americans support granting undocumented immigrants some form of legal status in the United States.
Introducing a report on illegal immigration, Fox News' Brit Hume told viewers that "some unintended consequences" had arisen from "President Bush's proposal to give illegal immigrants a path to citizenship." Bush, however, has offered no such proposal and has refused to say whether he would support an "earned citizenship" plan with bipartisan backing in the Senate.
Several news outlets have uncritically reported GOP leaders' claim that Democrats voted in favor of the controversial felony provision in the Republican-sponsored House immigration bill. But while House Democrats rejected an amendment reducing the charge for unlawful presence in the United States from a felony to a misdemeanor, they made clear at the time that their votes were consistent with their opposition to any criminal penalties for illegal U.S. presence.
Michael Savage referred to the woman who alleged she was raped at a party attended by members of the Duke University lacrosse team as a "Durham dirt-bag" and "dirty, verminous black stripper" because, according to Savage, she "lied when she said she was raped at a party." Savage added that "[t]his is the radical, feminist, lesbian agenda being acted out on our campuses in a witch-hunt manner against these white boys, very much like the socialist communist agenda being acted out on the American stage by the extras called the illegal aliens," whom he also referred to as "brown supremacists."
On his nationally syndicated radio show, Bill O'Reilly claimed that on the April 11 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, guest Charles Barron, a New York City councilman, had revealed the "hidden agenda" behind the current immigration debate. O'Reilly told his listeners: "[T]he bottom line is Charles Barron said last night is there is a movement in this country to wipe out 'white privilege' and to have the browning of America." But in the April 11 interview, Barron at no point claimed that he and other advocates for immigrant rights are motivated by a desire to force white Americans into the minority -- despite O'Reilly's repeated efforts to provoke such an acknowledgment.
Echoing a similar suggestion in a recent Saturday Night Live skit, Ann Coulter stated that the United States should "throw out the illegals who are here," but not before "hir[ing] illegal immigrants" to "build a wall" along the Mexican border. When Bill O'Reilly suggested Coulter was "being sarcastic" about hiring illegal immigrants to build the wall, Coulter responded: "No. It's cheap labor."
The American Family Association's Don Wildmon, Fred Jackson, and Ed Vitagliano claimed the "mainstream media" have a "vested interest" in promoting recent nationwide immigrant rights rallies: to swell Democratic voter rolls and, ultimately, "to weaken the Red States."
On April 11, radio host Michael Savage responded to a Media Matters for America item posted earlier that day by claiming that he had not referred to illegal immigrants as "vermin" as Media Matters contended, but rather "the leadership behind" the illegal immigrants. Savage declared: "[Y]eah, I would say that vermin is an accurate description, Mr. Media Matters." But on his April 10 show, Savage used the pronoun "they" -- who are "not even entitled to vote or be here" -- whose antecedent was unmistakably "vermin. In the same broadcast, he also said that politicians who continue to support the "vermin" may be "picking the vegetables."
On his daily BreakPoint radio commentary, convicted Watergate felon and Prison Fellowship Ministries founder Charles W. Colson claimed that legalized abortion created a labor shortage, forcing the United States to solicit undocumented workers from other countries to fill jobs that might have otherwise been occupied by the "40 million sacrificed since 1973" to abortion.
Fox News' David Asman suggested that the use of U.S. flags and signs written in English at recent pro-immigration demonstrations was "just a cover" by the demonstrators to conceal their "real intention, which is to keep things as normal among illegal immigrants in the country." Similarly, Neil Cavuto suggested that the demonstrators' U.S. flags were "just a prop," and "just a ploy to win America's support."
Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that the Senate immigration bill "does not address border security in any meaningful way" because it would "add 2,500 border patrol [agents] a year and that's it." In fact, in addition to doubling the number of border patrol agents over the next five years, the bill would also increase interior enforcement and electronic surveillance and provide for construction of additional barriers and fences along the border.